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King Who Pacified the West

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平西王 (Píngxīwáng): The King Who Pacified the West

Former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai.

This is a nickname for Bo Xilai, the former Politburo member and Party Secretary of Chongqing. Bo was removed from his posts in March and April 2012 after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, attempted to defect to the United States, and his wife, Gu Kailai, became the subject of a murder investigation. In September of 2013, Bo was sentenced to life in prison for bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power.

The “West” in Bo’s nickname refers to the western city of Chongqing, where Bo was Party Secretary. Under Bo’s ambitious initiatives, Chongqing was given the nickname of Tomato (Xīhóngshì 西红柿), which sounds like “red city of the West.” Many of Bo’s initiatives, like the promotion of “red” Maoist songs, attempted to hearken back to an earlier era and appease leftists who felt that China’s reforms were betraying its communist ideology.

The historical “King Who Pacified the West,” Wu Sangui, betrayed the Ming Dynasty to usher in the Qing, only to betray the Qing later in his life.

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